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The advertising and marketing landscape for the restaurant and food industry is constantly shifting. In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, restaurants lead the way in experimental and new advertising methods like social media posts, banner ads, and targeted advertising on mobile devices and restaurant tablets.

A study recently released by BIA/Kelsey indicated that franchise restaurant owners plan to spend 42% of their total advertising budget for the upcoming year on digital ads and services. But for traditional owners who are just now taking the digital marketing plunge, plenty of skepticism remains: are mobile ads really that effective?

The short answer is: yes, but only when implemented intelligently. A mobile ad is only effective when executed properly. In order to increase foot traffic and get the maximum return for your investment, follow these tips when advertising on smart phones. 

Location, Location, Location

The bottom line for mobile ads: your ads will perform substantially better with location targeting. A report from Verve Mobile suggests that mobile ads that feature location targeting outperform non-location-specific ads by a factor of two or three.

When potential customers are going about their day, they utilize mobile search engines to find restaurants and other points of purchase in their area. Ads that target these customers can influence a customer’s path-to-purchase, especially for fast-casual franchises.

The advertising by location can affect future purchases as well. If you target mobile ads for areas where your largest competitors are, you may not sway a customer today, but you inform them about other options and potentially affect their next meal or restaurant decision.

Get Specific

The typical location-based advertising tactic is called “geo-fencing” – sending the same mobile ad to any potential customers within a given geographical area with an identical ad for your restaurant.

But to get the most bang for your buck, the latest analytics and metrics suggest that geo-aware technology is the preferred method of advertising. Instead of one blanket ad, adding location-specific messages and phrases to banner ads increases the likelihood of driving foot traffic.

This can mean including their neighborhood or area name in the ad, or showing specifically what location of your restaurant is closest to them (including how many miles away it is). The more specific and geo-aware your ad is, the more likely its target will find a new home in your restaurant.

Multi-Platform Approach

You know the old adage: never put all of your eggs in one basket. Mobile ads do drive foot traffic, but are proven to be more effective when coupled with other means of advertising. Consider targeted social media posts and branded email blasts in addition to mobile ads for long-term success.

Mobile ads are great for raising awareness of your brand and location, but social media posts and email marketing can feature targeted promotions and events that will drive certain demographics to come back to your location again and again.

When users at your restaurant sign up for Buzztime, email marketing highlights events centered on the games the user has already played for a higher likelihood of action being taken. When you utilize mobile ads in addition to other advertising platforms, your dollar goes a long way toward steady and booming business.
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